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Stronger Nettle Beer Question

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:46 am
by Lakhesis
I've decided to try out the 'Stronger Nettle Beer' recipe on this site as my first ever attempt at home brewing!
It has been a relatively cold Winter for Sydney, Australia, so the brew was certainly not ready to bottle after the 3-4 days suggested. It's now 7 days on, and the brew is bubbling after nights near the heater - it's effervescent and smells quite strongly alcoholic.
But it still tastes VERY sweet - almost like a commercial kombucha, with an extra buzz…
I'm assuming that the reason why this is a strong beer is because of the large amount of sugar in the recipe, but I'm reluctant to bottle when it still tastes this sweet - worried the sugar content will cause explosions!
I decided to re-pitch 2 nights ago, and that has really got it going, but still… SUPER SWEET!
I've thought about bottling without sugar priming… But no idea what I'm doing!
Any suggestions?

Re: Stronger Nettle Beer Question

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 12:25 pm
by Maykal
If you can get your hands on a hydrometer, I'd check the gravity of a sample to find out whether there's still a load of sugar to ferment out or it's just your taste buds. Bottle with too much sugar and active yeast could get very messy! ;)

Re: Stronger Nettle Beer Question

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 1:03 pm
by Lakhesis
Excellent! I will look into it ASAP.
I had thought that I'd need a reading of the initial brew, pre-ferment, for an accurate hydrometer reading though…?
What is a 'safe' specific gravity range?

Re: Stronger Nettle Beer Question

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:29 pm
by Maykal
Well if you take a reading at the beginning, you can compare the before and after readings to see how much sugar was consumed, and get an idea of the strength of the brew. Even if you didn't take an original gravity reading, you can use the hydrometer to see how much sugar is left (approximately).

Water has a gravity of 1.000 and a decent beer will have a reading of about 1.050 initially and finish up around 1.008 or so. Fermentation can stop for two reasons (well, more than that if you include problematic reasons). The first is because the yeast has run out of sugars to eat (in which case you'll have a low gravity). The other is because the alcohol level is too high for the yeast (different yeasts have different tolerances). Anyway, if it's still bubbling, it's still fermenting, so you should probably leave it a while longer. I've never made nettle beer, but when I make regular beer, I usually leave it a few more days after it appears to have stopped fermenting just to let the yeast settle out a bit. Don't know if it's the same with nettle brews though.

Re: Stronger Nettle Beer Question

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:10 am
by Lakhesis
Thankyou again!
Did hydrometer readings 24 hours apart and went from 1.040-1.030. That said, there is a lot of literal sediment in the brew. Going to take another reading this afternoon to see what's changed and will probably strain off the brew tonight to get a reading of the 'refined' product.
I think nettle beers are pretty high density in the scheme of things.

Re: Stronger Nettle Beer Question

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:16 pm
by Andy Hamilton
HAve you bottled yet? I'd suggest keeping it going until the hydrometer reads 1.010 or so. The real key is to have consistant readings over 3 days so in other words it might read 1.015 but if it does that over three days then you should be fine. Unless its gotten cold then I'd also suggest moving to somewhere that is around 20c to see if fermentation restarts.